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Carl Kress and Marty Grosz

Hey guys, I'm a few days old to the forum. My name is Nico and I'm beginning to play professionally in Marty Grosz's tuning which is an alternative take on Carl Kress's tuning. I'm fortunate enough to know Marty and consider him to be a mentor of sorts to me. Anyways, I thought it'd be nice to have a space here to talk about Kress and Marty. I feel very alone in playing this style of swing guitar and thought it would be nice to reach out and see if anyone else is doing it and if so, we can trade knowledge and stories. Anyways, thank you for your time guys.
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  • Here's an oldish video of my playing. In the next week or so I'll be uploading more videos. The tune here is Old Man Sunshine.

  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 461
    I'm beginning to play professionally in Marty Grosz's tuning which is an alternative take on Carl Kress's tuning.

    Nice — can you share what exactly the tuning is?

    Adrian
  • Sure thing, Adrian. The tuning is Bb, F, C, G, B, D. The bottom four are the same as a cello or tenor banjo/guitar(C, G, D, A) but tuned down a whole step while the upper group of 4 strings is identical to plectrum banjo/guitar(C, G, B, D).

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,679
    Cool, glad to hear someone is working with Mr. Grosz. He seems like a real nice guy and I love his playing. Please keep us posted on your progress. I was once interested in learning that tuning but never pursued it.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited April 2018 Posts: 1,321
    Longtime Marty Grosz fan here, ever since discovering him in the 1960's on the album "Jim Kweskin: Jump For Joy".

    I double on plectrum banjo, so actually that crazy Kress/Grosz guitar tuning does make some sense to me, but I've never had enough patience to really master it. But I'm glad to see it's not totally forgotten!

    The thing about that style is that it requires a lot of memorization, and if you get a gig after not playing for a few weeks, God help you!

    Anyway, I've had the good fortune of meeting Marty several times in Toronto at the now defunct Canadian Collectors Congress.

    He's a real live wire, as I think the following photos will attest...

    Will Wilson
    MarkA
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited April 2018 Posts: 1,321
    Nico, I'm going to send along an MP3 of a recent live recording of my trio, "Dr. Jazz and the Jazzbugs", in Buffalo, NY.

    I hope you will hear echoes of all my acoustic guitar heroes: Eddie Lang's marvellous rhythm playing, Django's single-string work, and Marty Grosz's eccentric chord soloing...

    However... all the 'clams' are totally my own innovation...

    Will
    BucoMarkA
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • MarkAMarkA Vermont✭✭✭ Holo Epiphany, French mystery, Gibson L-5
    Posts: 98
    Glad to see this, thanks Nico. What gauges do you use for that tuning?
  • altonalton Keene, NH✭✭ 2000 Dell'Arte Long Scale Anouman, Gadjo Modele Francais, Gitane DG-330 John Jorgensen Tuxedo
    Posts: 109
    Hi Nico! I met you a couple of months ago at a jam at that store in Chicago. I remember asking what your low E was tuned to. Now it all makes sense! Great playing!
    [Deleted User]
  • edited May 2018 Posts: 0
    Bones wrote: »
    Please keep us posted on your progress. I was once interested in learning that tuning but never pursued it.

    Thanks, man. The next video I plan on sharing is Carl Kress's Peg Leg Shuffle.


    Longtime Marty Grosz fan here, ever since discovering him in the 1960's on the album "Jim Kweskin: Jump For Joy".

    I double on plectrum banjo, so actually that crazy Kress/Grosz guitar tuning does make some sense to me, but I've never had enough patience to really master it. But I'm glad to see it's not totally forgotten!

    The thing about that style is that it requires a lot of memorization, and if you get a gig after not playing for a few weeks, God help you!

    Anyway, I've had the good fortune of meeting Marty several times in Toronto at the now defunct Canadian Collectors Congress.

    He's a real live wire, as I think the following photos will attest...

    Will Wilson

    Will, it warms my heart to hear your words. Fun story, I have a friend that collects instruments and he happened to have a mid 30s Gibson L7 plectrum guitar that belonged to Marty. The case still had a name tag in it with Marty's name on it. I got to play it and it was good fun. Lovely photos of you and Marty. He certainly is a lot of fun. Great work on I Aint Got Nobody too. I just finished converting Eddie Lang's Fingerboard Harmony book to Marty's tuning. I've gone to far to turn back and honestly I don't mind. Having played standard tuned guitar by ear all my life I never actually understood what i was doing so with this tuning I'm glad to be able to restart and actually really learn something.
    MarkA wrote: »
    Glad to see this, thanks Nico. What gauges do you use for that tuning?

    Mark, the gauges are as follows.

    Bb- 85
    F- 54
    C- 37
    G- 26
    B- 17
    D- 14

    That'll get you the right tension however intonating it will be tough. Your bridge will have an extreme slant to get it right however if you find any Gibson guitar made in the mid to late 30s you'll notice that the pins for the bridge are offset. Unfortunately changing the bridge is usually one of the first things that happens with people that buy these instruments. Below is a photo of the Gibson L5 Special that Kress designed with an example of what I'm talking about with regards to the bridge.
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 265
    I'm a big fan of Marty's dad.
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